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The Seven Books Of Arnobius Against The Heathen by Arnobius

29 Now, since it is so, cease, I pray youà

Now, since it is so, cease, I pray you, cease to rate trifling and unimportant things at immense values. Cease to place man in the upper ranks, since he is of the lowest; and in the highest orders, seeing that his person only is taken account of, that he is needy, poverty-stricken in his house and dwelling, and was never entitled to be declared of illustrious descent. For while, as just men and upholders of righteousness, you should have subdued pride and arrogance, by the evils of which we are all uplifted and puffed up with empty vanity; you not only hold that these evils arise naturally, but -- and this is much worse -- you have also added causes by which vice should increase, and wickedness remain incorrigible. For what man is there, although of a disposition which ever shuns what is of bad repute and shameful, who, when he hears it said by very wise men that the soul is immortal, and not subject to the decrees of the fates, would not throw himself headlong into all kinds of vice, and fearlessly engage in and set about unlawful things? who would not, in short, gratify his desires in all things demanded by his unbridled lust, strengthened even further by its security and freedom from punishment? For what will hinder him from doing so? The fear of a power above and divine judgment? And how shall he be overcome by any fear or dread who has been persuaded that he is immortal, just as the supreme God Himself, and that no sentence can be pronounced upon him by God, seeing that there is the same immortality in both, and that the one immortal being cannot be troubled by the other, which is only its equal?
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